Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Book Challenge

I know. It's a tad late to hop on the book challenge wagon, but last year I tried to do one and failed miserably. I think I only read fifteen books last year. That's just not acceptable for an author, so I'm going to step up my game.

My twenty-fifteen goal is fifty books. Two years ago, I completed that challenge by blogging mini-reviews every month.  So what guess what? My mini-reviews are making a comeback for twenty-fifteen!

To some of you, fifty books isn't a lot, but I don't read that fast, and I have a side obsession Kdramas which takes up a lot of my time. However, with the right books, I'll be able to do it.

Wish me luck for the year!  What are you reading?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

FREE Cover Design

Every writer daydreams about the perfect cover. The one that speaks to the audience and yells, "BUY ME!" Well, folks, I'd like to make that cover for you.

For the past year or so, I've been interested in cover design. I've made quite a few poor attempts at an amazing cover, but I have yet to make a home run.

What I feel like I lack---more than anything---is experience. I've daydreamed plenty of my own covers, but I have yet to work with an author one-on-one and think outside of myself. This is where you, dear reader, come in.

I'm giving away a FREE cover design, or re-design.

This is not going to be a drawing. This is going to be about whoever is interested in working with me as a serious cover designer. I want to take someone's vision, bring it to life, and tweek it until they find it satisfactory.

Whomever accepts my offer is under no obligation to use the cover I create. It's about me gaining experience in a field I'd like to capitalize on, someday. Just like writing, I want to make sure I'm a pro first.

Here's a sampling of covers I've made, to give interested takers an idea of what I'm best at.

 If you're interested, or know of an interested party, please leave a comment below. And spread the word. I'd be really sad if I didn't get to do any cover designs. Thank you!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Something Wicked Bloghop

It's been like FOREVER since I've done a bloghop. I just happened to see this one on G+, being hosted by my two favorite Krista's, and I thought, why not? Here's the deets:

Share 400 words or less to about a real villain, one you created in a novel, or a flash fiction. Your villain doesn't have to be necessarily a murderer or stalker, but any anti-hero in your writing will work just fine!

I decided to go with Flash Fiction since it's been a while. Really, it's good to exercise that part of my brain. Win-win.

“Did you really think it would be that easy?” Hunter says, dangling the watch in front of my face.

I hold my breath. One wrong move and the watch could break, destroying our time. Hunter knows that better than anyone, but he swings it anyway.

“I’m sorry,” I say, falling to my knees. 

Dust puffs from the floor, a rat skittering to its hideout. All the clocks in the room start to ring. Their phantom song dwarfing all conversation.





Hunter smirks. “I warned you. Time is fragile. You can’t use the watch without consequences.”

“Not this,” I say, my breath coming faster. “Anything but this.”

Hunter snatches the watch back into his gloved hand and steps into the light. Shadows wave over his half snarled face. 

He tips his neck back so I can see his grotesqueness more clearly. “This should’ve been warning enough.”
I lower my head, my brown hair falling around my peripheral vision. He’s right. I knew the second I took possession of the watch I was asking for trouble.

“All I ever wanted,” I whisper, “was for him to live.”

Hunter squats, caressing the place under my chin so I have to look up. “And he will, but this is the price you have to pay.”

I loved Jameson ferociously. Each moment we spent together was more passionate, more dangerous than the last. When he died, I died too. 

I thought if I could travel through timeif I could just stop him from walking out into the cold nightI would be whole. Hunter warned me. Told me there were drawbacks. I just never thought it would be this.

“Sweet, sweet, Chastity,” Hunter says, tipping his head in a bird-like fashion. “How ironic someone with so much darkness in them has a such a pure name.” He laughs, flipping my chin up, and standing.

“You already had your chance, Chastity. You made your choice the second you went back in time.”

That's when the anger hits, hot in my belly. If I have to endure this, I want bring others pain too.

“Now he’s alive again, yes," Hunter says, "But he will never, ever know you existed.”

I wanted Jameson to live, and instead I created my own personal nightmare.

If I can’t have Jameson, no one can. I’m pretty sure that makes me the monster.


Hope ya'll have a safe and spooky Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

There are Characters Everywhere

This past weekend, my husband's uncle and his family came to visit us. Houston is HUGE and there's a lot to see. We gave them a list of ideas and let them decide what they wanted to do.

Sunday morning came, bright and clear with prefect temperatures. They really wanted to see NASA, and I suggested we could walk the beach in the evening.

Not everything works out as planned. We arrived at NASA, pulled over to the little park out front, and had a conference. It dawned on us in that moment just how expensive a day at NASA would be and how beautiful the sunshine was. So instead of walking around indoors and looking at cool space stuff, we decided to go straight to the beach.

Because the excursion was mostly unplanned, we came unprepared. We didn't have food. We didn't have water. We didn't have sunscreen. None of us had brought our bathing suits. Some of us were in long pants. Some of us were in long sleeves, but we went anyway.

It was kind of silly, going to the water fully clothed, and playing anyway. There was a moment---after my toddler hadn't slept all day, and had a diaper full of sand---when I went for a walk (pushing a stroller) with nothing but my thoughts to occupy me.

Galveston is as diverse as the seashells that line the shore. I couldn't help but notice all the characters as I strolled. Here I was in jeans and tee, come to play in the water. I wasn't the only one in that situation.

There was a man in a full out business suit sitting on a concrete bench, contemplating the horizon. There was another lady with long braided hair throwing crumbs to a hungry pigeon. A homeless man pointed out a girl in a bikini to me, though I'm not sure why.       

It got me thinking, what were these people's stories? What brought them to this beach on a clear day in October? Was it to escape? Was it to breathe? Was it just because they knew that sun and surf is perfect combination to rejuvenate?

Whatever the reason was, I wanted their stories to be known. Maybe that's why I write. To put true human emotions on a page and share it with the world. That's the amazing thing about books. Even though we can't know every story, we can share in other lives for a short time. What a truly precious gift that is.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Visualization: Writing in a Way that Brings the Scene to Life

I don't profess to be an expert in writing. I've learned a lot over the years, but I believe there's always more to learn. Each time I sit down to write, I'm constantly asking myself questions.

Do the words flow? Is this the right word? Does this make my point clear? Is there enough mystery? Is the mystery so thick the reader is lost?

I have my own methods to keeping my writing strong, but my way doesn't work for everyone. The brilliant thing about reading is that there are so many differences in the way people write, you can be transported into a character's head and consider the world in a way you never would've before.

However, it never hurts to have tips about how other writers improve themselves. Even if the advice isn't spot on, it can generate ideas about new ways to look at things.

That being said, we'll move on to the meat of this post--visualization.

I recently finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I got completely sucked into her world. I kept trying to put it down, and I physically couldn't. Every time I was forced to walk away, I was still living in the fog of her words.

As I read, I asked myself questions, just as I do when I write. What can I draw from her example that will allow me to have the same hold on future readers?

A memory came to me while I was pouring over the pages. Two years ago, I was standing in line for lunch at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference when I heard two people behind me discussing the last class they went to.

"Apparently," one of them said. "Metaphors light up a different part of your brain. They bring visual understanding in a way similes can't."

Since I didn't go to the class I don't know everything that was said, but that thought stuck with me. At the time I didn't know how to apply it to my writing, but after reading Fangirl I finally understood.

"Her skin sparkled like gold."

It's not a terrible simile. Pretty much everyone knows what gold looks like. On top of that, gold brings thoughts of luxury and refinement. But what if that simile was a metaphor instead? 

"Her skin was gold. Just as soft as twice as radiant."

With one little change, it went from pretty good to beautiful.

I don't think it needs saying, but from now on I'm adding the word like to list of things to check during an edit. Who needs similes anyway?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Letting the Little Things Go

Last week my youngest had a birthday. Piled among the gifts was a car from his Nana---a Lighting McQueen that will run on it's own after it's been shaken.  Perfect gift for a two year old, right? Especially for a little boy who loves engines like my guy does.

He's been roaming around the house with it clutched in his hand, driving it around, and basically having the time of his life. Every time I catch him with it though, I have to laugh. The wheels are spinning on their own, but he's still holding the car as tight as he can.

I kept telling him, "You have to let the car go." I eased it out of his hands and placed it on the floor, demonstrating the full potential of the toy. Yet, he still insists on driving it himself.

It only took me a couple of tries to realize he had to figure it out on his own, and I couldn't help him unless he wanted to be helped.

The experience made me stop and think. What am I holding onto that would work better if I just let it run?

Since I'm sitting here writing this post, I'm sure you can imagine my thoughts led me to writing.

I like to think I can be funny from time to time in my stories, or least I try to be. In fact, it's those silly/embarrassing moments I like to write the best. So when it comes time to edit, those are the scenes I have the hardest time letting go.

Problem is, all of my wit---no matter how funny---might not serve the story. I cling to my favorite parts the same way my son clings to his toy car. Sure, I can drive the story myself, but how much faster might it go if I let it fly?

Who knows, hidden potential might be found in a cut scene. I just have to remind myself that it's okay to let go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self Publishing is not for the Weak

I'm gonna start this post out with a confession: I'm a scaredy pants.

Confession number two: I will NEVER self-publish a novel. At least not until I've traditionally published first.

Why? Refer to confession number one.

All you self-published peeps out there, I give you major props. It takes serious guts to put your work out there all on your own.

There's so much to think about. The right cover, the right title, the right hook. Finding reviewers, finding a good editor, finding your audience. MARKETING.

Traditional publishing has a bit of comfort behind it. You find an agent - validation. You sell your book - validation. All the other little details are taken care of for you.

But here's the thing: either way, it's a risk.

Just becasue a book is traditionally published doesn't mean it's going to sell well. It might tank.

Traditionally publishing might be even riskier becasue other people are banking on you. What if you end up being a big. fat. failure?

Okay, so publishing in general is pretty scary, but I'm still more afraid of the self-publishing route. If it fails, then I'm the only person I can blame.

That proposition is frightening.

To all you self-published authors out there: I think you're awesome for being so brave. Rock on!